How long will my child need therapy?
In my practice I often get the question how much therapy it will take for a child to get better. The unsatisfying answer to it is that 'it depends.'
A very young child that is brought in when he or she has not been struggling for a long time can improve quite quickly within a time span of 6 to 8 sessions. A child that is in the later years of elementary school, junior high or high school and has been struggling for quite a while might take a longer time. In those cases it might be unrealistic to expect that a couple sessions of 'talking' will bring about the hoped for change.
Sometimes, there are dramatic improvements after the first couple sessions. This might cause optimism in parents and they might feel like they can end the treatment right there and then. However, too much, too soon, might be something to be suspicious of. It is likely that the child is feeling somewhat anxious about the treatment and is trying his best to be 'good.' It is important to have the time to explore this, and to not cut the treatment short too soon.
Children (and adults) can start to change quite quickly and typically after about 6 months of consistent therapy you will see some substantial change. Unfortunately, a lot of parents want to stop the treatment as soon as the symptoms that bother them disappear. However, to the work of therapy there is an internal logic, and it is important to complete this work. Rather than having the parents decide when to stop the work, it is important to take the child's wish into account. If the child is not ready, the work should ideally be continued.
Just as the child should be the one ending the treatment, he should also be the one that wants to enter it. It might take several sessions to explore whether the child wants to come talk for him or herself. If not, it could be helpful for the parent to talk in the presence of the child or even without the child being present. Therapy cannot be forced.
To schedule an appointment you can reach me at (530) 321-2970